What is Marketing?

Continuous exposure to advertising and personal selling leads many people to link marketing and selling, or to think that marketing activities start once goods and services have been produced. While marketing certainly includes selling and advertising, it encompasses much more. Marketing also involves analysing consumer needs, securing information needed to design and produce goods or services that match buyer expectations and creating and maintaining relationships with customers and suppliers. The following table summarizes the key differences between marketing and selling concepts.

Table Selling Vs. Marketing

The difference between selling and marketing can be best illustrated by this popular customer quote: ‘Don’t tell me how good your product is but tell me how good it will make me’.

The American Marketing Association, the official organization for academic and professional marketers, defines marketing as:

Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives

Another definition goes as ‘ … process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others’. Simply put: Marketing is the delivery of customer satisfaction at a profit.

The notion of exchange as central to marketing is reinforced by many contemporary definitions such as ‘marketing is the process of creating and resolving exchange relationships’ and ‘marketing is the process in which exchanges occur among persons and social groups’. The essence of marketing is the exchange process, in which two or more parties give something of value to each other to satisfy felt needs. In many exchanges, people trade tangible goods for money. In others, they trade intangible services.

Exchanges in marketing are consummated not just between any two parties, but almost always among two or more parties, of which one or more taken on the role of buyer and one or more, the role of seller. A common set of conditions are present in the marketplace, viz.,

1) Buyers outnumber sellers

2) Any individual buyer is weaker than any individual seller economically, but

3) The total economic power of even a fraction of the buyers is enough to assure the existence of, or to put out of business, most sellers or groups of sellers, and

4) Consequently, the sellers compete to sway the largest number of buyers they can to their, rather than another seller’s (competitor’s) offerings. Finally and intriguingly,

5) The sellers in their attempt to meet competition and attract the largest number of buyers, are influenced as well, regularly modifying their behaviours so they will have more success, with more buyers, over time.

The expanded concept of marketing activities permeates all organizational functions. It assumes that the marketing effort will follow the overall corporate strategy and will proceed in accordance with ethical practices and that it will effectively serve the interests of both society and organization. The concept also identifies the marketing variables – product, price, promotion and distribution – that combine to provide customer satisfaction. In addition, it assumes that the organization begins by identifying and analysing the consumer segments that it will later satisfy through its production and marketing activities. The concept’s emphasis on creating and maintaining relationships is consistent with the focus in business on long-term, mutually satisfying sales, purchases and other interactions with customers and suppliers. Finally it recognizes that marketing concepts and techniques apply to non-profit organizations as well as to profit-oriented businesses, to product organization and to service organizations, to domestic and global organizations, as well as to organizations targeting consumers and other businesses.

The following list consists of some MARKETING MYTHS. Tick the myths you thought about marketing before reading this section? Add some new myths you might have discovered.

·         Marketing and selling are synonymous

·         The job of marketing is to develop good advertisements

·         Marketing is pushing the product to the customers

·         Marketing is transaction-oriented than relationship-oriented

·         Marketing is a short-term business strategy

·         Marketing is an independent function of a business

·         Marketing is part of selling

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